ZK sputtered as he picked himself up from the deck. "Where in Zevtwill's hells did they hit us from?" he asked. "That felt explosive. No bombers on scopes, though, so what..." He brushed the remnants of his spilled mushroom powder from the console and started punching commands into the Canopy's computer. "We're losing altitude and the gimbals're still whirling. Bix?" Angela watched from her harness as Bixby, still strapped into his own chair, leaned forward to peruse the magnetic armillary. He flicked a tensioning knob just long enough to arrest the spin of the graduated sphere within its glass bubble enclosure, then kept an eye on it as it settled into its new orientation. "Medial side," Bixby said, "We've been knocked away from the blast. Better get damage control out there, Z, see how many envelopes we lost."A magnetic armillary - also known as a spherical compass or Manifold compass - is a special piece of navigational equipment familiar to airmen in general and Navigator's Guild navigators in particular.
Mechanics & Inner Workings
A magnetic armillary is primarily comprised of a balanced, neutrally buoyant globe of material (often hollow ceramic or polymer) suspended in a transparent oil bath. The globe has magnets embedded in the poles and is marked with gradations and colored regions to make discerning its orientation within the outer shell easier. A transparent shell or cage with viewports contains this globe. This outer shell may feature reticules, adjustible measurement bands, or tensioning devices to aid in interpreting the orientation of the inner globe.
Because the Northern and Southern Tesseracts are also the magnetic north and south of the Manifold itself, the orientation of the sphere can be used to determine where someone is relative to the nearest cube layer associated with one of these tesseracts. Advanced users can also gauge the the acceleration of the globe towards its stable orientation (and, therefore, the relative force of the magnetic field acting on the armillary) to determine how close one of these poles is, further assisting the operator in determining their location within the Manifold. Finally, for professional navigators, physicists, and cartographers, information from a magnetic armillary can be combined with other environmental factors (i.e. measurements of relative humidity and ambient light spectra) to determine one's exact location within the Manifold to a reasonable degree of accuracy.Eqai Voiranoi is almost always depicted with his trusty magnetic armillary in one hand and note-taking materials in the other.
The most common cultural depiction of magnetic armillaries is found in the symbology of the Navigator's Guild itself. A stylized magnetic armillary appears as a compass rose on all Guild maps, as a seal on official Guild documentation, and as one element of the Guild's official banner. Because of the association between the cult of Cosmeon (of the Unexpector faith) and the act of travel or explaination, the magnetic armillary also appears in Church symbolism alongside Cosmeon's own holy symbol. The Order of Cosmeon represents the union of Guild and Church philosophy in this regard. Seekers of Misfortune and Courtiers of Ironies - even those with no Unexpector or Guild affiliation beyond the recognition of their deeds - often use the magnetic armillary in their own personal branding. For example, books from notable holders of these titles often display realistic or abstract representations of magnetic armillaries on their trade dress.
Navigational Aid / Instrument
Magnetic armillaries are commonly found in airborne vehicles and among members of the Guild. The devices are somewhat less common in other segments of society, though physicists, educators, and others interested in exploring the unusual geometries and geomagnetic cycles of the Manifold also make use of magnetic armillaries in their work.
6' diameter (professional version)
400 NGC (basic) to 600 NGC (professional)